Erin Krampetz

Erin fosters the strategic development and growth of the Ashoka U community of practice with the goal of supporting colleges and universities everywhere to become hubs of social innovation.

Rethinking College Admissions – Ashoka U White Paper and Best Practice Links

Ashoka U has published a white paper on “Rethinking College Admissions: A Social Innovation Approach,” which can be downloaded in full here.

Positioned as action research, we asked the following research question: “How can the college admissions process empower every student with the skills and qualities they need to shape the world for the good of all?”

The report features key challenges and opportunities in the admissions process related to:

  • Encouraging experiential learning and changemaker growth opportunities at high schools through the admissions process as an incentive structure.
  • Improving campus culture by aligning admissions marketing, outreach, and criteria with institutional values.
  • Recognizing skillsets valued by employers and needed in today’s world – such as resourcefulness, resilience, and adaptability – which are not well represented in test scores required for admittance into higher education.

The report offers a baseline of current practices, based on survey responses from admissions officers across 22 (of the 37 total) Ashoka U Changemaker Campuses, and it highlights promising new approaches and innovation across a variety of institutions gleaned from qualitative interviews with educational innovators.

What you’ll find in the report, linked here:

  • Baseline Survey: Results of admissions practices across 22 colleges and universities
  • Analysis and Recommendations: Key challenges, solutions, and case studies
  • Changemaker Toolbox: Innovative practices you can adapt and implement

Call to Action! Host a conversation about changemaker admissions at the upcoming Ashoka U Exchange annual conference. Apply by October 5th to present your own best practice idea!

We sincerely appreciate the support of the admissions officers who participated in the “Rethinking College Admissions” survey and the interviewees for their generous contributions to this report.

In particular, we are grateful to the Moxie Foundation for its support which made this report possible.


Changemaker Toolbox Highlights and Links:

  • Arizona State University E+I FRESHMAN FELLOWS: Prospective students who communicate a strong interest in social entrepreneurship receive personalized communication about ASU’s entrepreneurship offerings, with an invitation to join the E+I Fellows cohort to pursue entrepreneurship regardless of their major, while accessing program resources.
  • Seattle University: Sending changemaker quotations, taken directly from the student’s application essay, as a promotional poster in their acceptance letter to highlight their alignment with institutional values. 
  • Tulane University IGNITE pre-orientation program: A week before their college experience begins, students catalyze their leadership potential, learn from local community leaders and activists, and build skills to create positive social change, all while discovering local culinary and cultural gems.